Sat, 25 Sep 2021

TOKYO, July 27 (Xinhua) -- All five Chinese doubles pairs have progressed through to the badminton knockout rounds here on Tuesday at the Tokyo Olympics.

In an earlier match against Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan, the sole Chinese pairing of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in men's doubles went into the game with a strong start taking a 21-14 lead. The Chinese duo built on the momentum and took the second set 21-16.

"This was so far the most difficult match at the Tokyo Olympics," Liu said after the competition. "They rank world No. 5, and we are No. 6, so we are very close in rankings."

"Also, the competition in men's doubles is always intense and every team is vying for top place in the group," he added.

Li thought it was a close victory, especially in the midway when scores seesawed. "At that moment the victory actually depends on who can take the initiative in receiving the ball," he said.

On their general performances in group play, the Chinese duo said that they played well, but still hope they'll be able to do even better in the knockouts.

"We have accomplished the first stage of progressing to quarterfinals, and now the next step is to go for a medal," Liu said.

After beating South Korea's world No. 5 Kim So-yeong/Kong Hee-yong, China's second-seeded women's doubles duo Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan breezed into the knockouts on a three-game winning streak.

World No. 3 Chen and Jia lost the first set to the South Korean pair 21-19. In the next, the world champions from China bounced back to win 21-16 and force a decider. In the third set, Chen and Jia started to dominate, leaving no chances to their opponents and eventually taking away a 21-14 win.

Jia said they have played against the South Korean pair many times before, and it was very fierce every time they faced each other.

"Especially because it is the Olympics, they will definitely not give us a break and neither will we," said Jia.

"We fight in each and every game like there is no way back," Chen echoed.

However, their teammates Du Yue and Li Yinhui didn't have such luck. The world No. 7 duo lost to another South Korean pair Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan, currently ranking No. 4.

"They were obviously well prepared, and they had more changes than in matches before. We made targeted preparations, but maybe we didn't do well in adapting to the changes they have made," Du said.

Despite a loss to South Korean opponents, Du and Li have also qualified for the quarterfinals with two previous victories, finishing second in the group.

In mixed doubles, China's top seeds Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong and world No. 3 Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping had eased into the quarterfinals on Monday after three consecutive wins in the group phase.

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